We are delighted to announce the launch of our much anticipated Goldfinger Academy. A place of learning, inclusion and empowerment for our local community that aspires to encourage young people to achieve full-time employment.
Our Academy has a vision to reach out to young people not in education, employment or training (NEET), a high number of which we recognise are within our local community. We aspire to reach out and empower these people by providing woodwork courses and training opportunities whilst learning about zero waste principles.
Earlier this year, the Office of National Statistics revealed figures that from October to December 2018, 788,000 young people (aged 16 to 24 years) in the UK were classified as NEET. The percentage of all young people in the UK who were NEET was 11.3%; the proportion was up 0.5 percentage points from July to September 2018. These statistics are a reminder that young people are in urgent need of opportunities, and we hope these courses will offer exactly that, whilst providing a sense of joy that working with your hands provides.
Working with wood in particular has added benefits, and something we feel is rather extraordinary. When we touch aluminium or plastic our blood pressure rises. When we touch wood, it doesn't. Wood is literally one of the healthiest materials in our environment, which is just one of the many reasons we love to work with it!
We launched the Academy on the 12th June during London’s Circular Economy Week, held at our Goldfinger HQ in North Kensington. The event was a culmination of months of hard work by Head of Development, Naomi Sherry, who joined Goldfinger in December 2018. She has been instrumental in defining the strategy and building momentum toward launching the Academy, generating goodwill and valuable connections across a number of communities and industries in a short timeframe. Naomi also successfully acquired sponsors for funding the event from the Sustainable Spirit Company, Gold, & Smith and Tom Dixon.
The event has shone a light on our mission, whilst repositioning our social enterprise both commercially and as a force for good in our community. The feedback from the event was incredibly moving, and reinforced that our Goldfinger friends, both old and new, fans and sponsors left feeling inspired whilst having had a huge amount of fun! We were so delighted to see our friends from Hermès, The Conduit, PwC, Leaders’ Quest among many others on the night.
“The current climate has focussed our minds on the use of natural resources and the importance of the circular economy. With the onus upon us to make changes on both a local and global scale, Goldfinger Academy offers a way of being the change you wish to see, and transforms lives in the process.” Head of Development, Naomi Sherry.
The success of the evening was also achieved by the invaluable time and energy given by our pro-bono development committee, which included Constanza Mardones, Michelle Calder and notably Alison Aylen, who donated an incredible prize to our auction of rock-drumming lessons with her husband, Jason Cooper of the Cure.
The evening began with a welcome speech by CEO & Co-Founder, Marie Cudennec and some moving words spoken by Jason Rowe, one of our superstar trainees sponsored by the Hermès Foundation. The evening then followed with an inspiring panel discussion: ‘Can Sustainable Design Transform Communities?’ chaired by TV presenter Julia Bradbury with panelists Steven Overman - Author of The Conscious Economy; Juliet Kinsman - eco and luxury travel expert, Richard Holland - Director at Holland Harvey Architects, and Nadira Lalji - Founder at Inhabit Hotels.
The night was topped off with an action-packed live auction led by Christies' Director, Nick Martineau, where some lucky winners got their hands on some fantastic prizes such as a masterclass with our Head of Design, Alex, a week-long Design Internship at Tom Dixon HQ, and a private rock-drumming lesson with the Cure's Jason Cooper.
A total of £7.2k was raised at the event, so thank you to all who attended and have already donated. The funding will contribute to upgrading the Goldfinger workshop, including the necessary tools required to teach larger groups in wood carpentry and craftsmanship. Funds will also allow for additional teaching staff and learning materials to further support the training programmes.
The Academy aims to raise £250,000 by 2020 and train 550 people over the next 2 years - your support makes a difference. Click here for more information.